2021 Kelly J. Edwards Architecture Scholarship recipients, Nguyen Duong (left) and Makayla Bruce (right)

The Kelly J. Edwards Architecture Scholarship is entering its second year and Scott Edwards Architecture could not be more pleased to share a little about our 2021 recipients. Named for SEA co-founder Kelly J. Edwards, this scholarship honors his legacy as an exceptional architect and mentor to young staff. The annual scholarship awards $5,000 to an underrepresented student of color who is pursuing a college degree in Architecture, and this year we are pleased to award two scholarships! It was launched in partnership with ACE Mentor Program of Oregon, an after-school program that helps high school students explore careers in architecture, construction management, and engineering. You can learn more about the scholarship and our previous recipients by reading our Kelly J. Edwards Architecture Scholarship blog post.

SEA has selected Makayla Bruce and Nguyen Duong as our 2021 scholarship recipients. Both women graduated from the ACE Mentor Program and are now in their 3rd year at school pursuing a degree in Architecture, Makayla at the University of Oregon and Nguyen at the University of Virginia. Alongside the scholarship funds to put toward their education, they will also return to Portland for a Summer 2022 internship at SEA where they’ll gain first-hand architecture experience. 

Makayla’s interest in architecture began when she was around 8 years old. She used cereal boxes and styrofoam to build creations and made lists and sketches in a journal of all the elements she’d like in her future house. Not knowing the term for architecture until middle school, she referred to her interests as “art-i-tech” — the merging of art and technology. When she joined ACE in high school she was encouraged to pursue this interest and make it her career.

“ACE helped prepare me [for school] and also helped solidify that I truly did want to be an architect. ACE has also given me interests in serving and teaching others about and through architecture.”

Now having studied architecture for two years, Makayla discusses how she’s grown to appreciate the human contribution to design. Alongside her degree in Architecture, she is also pursuing minors in Business Administration, Interior Architecture, and Art. When envisioning her career she sees herself designing civic buildings, schools, and performing arts halls, inspired by the impact they have on communities and individuals alike. She draws her inspiration from organic forms and someday hopes to visit Penang, Malaysia, and Singapore to see the multicultural influences alive in the architecture.

Nguyen’s interest in architecture began at an early age as well, but much like Makayla, it was not until joining ACE in high school that she began to consider it as her career path. The hands-on nature of the field and the collaboration necessary to produce strong results are aspects that she enjoys. She grew up with many interests, like technology and the environment, and sees architecture as a creative and impactful way to incorporate them all. Her degree in Architecture along with her minors provide her with a unique design perspective.

“I am currently minoring in Computer Science and Technology and the Environment. It can be quite a heavy schedule for me, but it is worth the knowledge, where I can apply what I learned to my architecture study.”

In her past two years of study, Nguyen has grown to appreciate just how much time and effort goes into architecture — even the simplest floor plan can have considerable changes and at every stage of design multiple elements like material, environment, structure, budget, and more must be taken into account. She draws inspiration from shapes and lines that she experiences in her everyday life (and sometimes her dreams!) and would like to travel to Hong Kong and Dubai to study the thoughtfully planned and often cutting-edge architecture. 

Speaking for the selection committee and all who have had the opportunity to meet Makayla and Nguyen, their passion and aptitude for architecture are evident upon the first conversation and we look forward to having them join SEA for their internships. And while we welcome our new recipients, we’ll also be thanking one of our 2021 recipients, Tameta Thompson, as she wraps up her summer internship with SEA and heads back to school. When asked to share her internship experience, Tameta said:

“I really enjoyed working with SEA this summer. Everyone in the office is very helpful and very welcoming. Coming in not really knowing much about professional workspaces and not knowing what to expect was very nerve-wracking but the people here helped to put any worries I had at ease. The experience was beneficial in helping me learn how to apply the things that I’m learning in school to the career field. I enjoyed being able to work on the Hacienda project and the Lake Oswego Recreation and Aquatic Center. I feel like with both projects I was able to show my skill set while also learning a lot about software programs, client needs/wants, DD, and just practical skills like what to look for during a site walk.”

Thank you, Tameta, and looking forward to seeing you both next summer, Makayla and Nguyen!